Ian Andreas Miller. 5 June 2003.
This article explains why the spelling Amazones Quartetto (or Amazones Quartet) is more expedient than the traditional spelling Amazoness Quartet. It should be regarded as a shortened version of the older Amazonesu: Amazones and Amazoness article.
Amazon Trio and Amazoness Quartet
There is a traditional set of explanations for the spellings Amazon Trio and Amazoness Quartet. Hawk’s-eye, Fisheye, and Tiger’s-eye are the Amazon Trio ( Amazon Torio). Cere Cere, Palla Palla, Jun Jun, and Ves Ves are the Amazoness Quartet ( Amazonesu Karutetto). (The katakana characters for karutetto can approximate quartet and the Italian spelling quartetto1. At least one Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn source actually shows “quartet.”) Apparently, the Amazon (Japanese: Amazon) in Amazon Trio was supposed to be a male person, and Amazoness (Japanese: Amazonesu) in Amazoness Quartet was supposed to be Amazon with the feminizing suffix -ess. Most fans of Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn seem to subscribe to that set of explanations.
However, since the Amazon Trio
are men (even cross-dressing ones), they cannot be Amazons, by definition. The term Amazon
refers to a female human, not a male one2
. (The phrase “male amazon” is contradictory like the phrase “square-shaped circle.”) Furthermore, the term Amazoness
, when it comprises Amazon
with the feminizing suffix -ess
at the end, is a redundant and nonstandard term. There is no need to add the suffix to Amazon
when it refers to a human because the human is already female.
Amazon Trio and Amazones Quartetto
Several articles at DIES GAUDII have introduced a newer set of explanations of the spellings Amazon Trio and Amazones Quartetto (or Amazones Quartet. The Amazon in Amazon Trio ( Amazon Torio) refers to the Amazon area in South America. The Amazones in Amazones Quartetto ( Amazonesu Karutetto) is a Greek collective name for the Amazons from classical mythology. Amazones (Greek: ) literally means Amazons3. (Amazones Quartetto can also be Amazones Quartet.)
Evidence in the Manga
We can see whether Amazones is appropriate in the manga. Cere Cere and the other girls state that they are descended from the Amazonesu4. The Japanese usually use Amazonesu to approximate the Greek term Amazones5. Ms. Takeuchi and the animators used other classical Greek forms of words: Elysion6 (instead of the English and Latin form Elysium) and Seirn7 (instead of the English form Siren) are obvious examples. (Elysion in Greek: 8; Elysion in Japanese: Eryushion9. Seirn in Greek: 10; Seirn in Japanese: Seirn11.) If Ms. Takeuchi meant Amazoness (Amazon with the suffix -ess) instead of the Amazons from classical mythology, then she did not bother to justify the redundant suffix. Furthermore, she has never used a suffix to create a semantically redundant term before. There is no reason to think that she would add the suffix -ess to Amazon, but we do have a reason to think that she was referring to the Amazons (she uses other mythological terms). The principle of parsimony rejects the Amazoness (Amazon with the -ess) idea. It makes sense for the girls to say that they are descended from the Amazons. (The anime and manga use many ideas from classical mythology.) The katakana characters Amazon, on the other hand, only refer to the Amazon area in South America. Nobody gives an unusual definition for that term.
Evidence in the Anime
One would think that since Ms. Takeuchi created the characters and the names, the animators would follow her naming pattern.
In later Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn SuperS episodes, the term Amazon refers to the Amazon area in South America, so the Amazon in Amazon Trio should refer to that place. (Cere Cere says her flower came from the Amazon, and one of the characters tells us that a certain fish came from the Amazon.) Amazon is not specifically defined as anything else.
Some people may wish to claim that the Amazon Trio really are called Amazons (where the term Amazon refers to a man) by pointing out that the titles of episodes 131 and 149 are Pegasus o Toraero! Amazon no Wana and Yume no Kagami! Amazon Saigo no Sutji, respectively. However, other episode titles have abbreviations. The title for episode 130 uses a W with the katakana characters daburu (i.e. double) as furigana. (The Japanese often use the letter W as an abbreviation for daburu12.) Episode 140’s title contains mini, which is an abbreviation for minisukto (i.e. miniskirt). Episode 148’s title shows Torio, which represents Trio. We never see the entire phrase Amazon Torio in the titles. There are reasons to think that there are also abbreviations in the titles for episodes 131 and 149. A song named Amazon Torio no Wana plays during episode 131. The phrase Amazon Torio Saigo no Butai (which means Amazon Trio’s Last Stage) appears on the back cover of SuperS LD volume 6. (That LD contains episode 149.) The Amazon in the episode titles would be short for Amazon Torio Amazon has been used in Amazon Torio previously. It has not been defined to refer to men. It would be a leap in logic to say that the men are Amazons.
Amazon no Wana itself can mean “Trap of the Amazon,” where Amazon is used here as it's used by the creator of the three characters: to refer to the Amazon area in South America. In that case, the Amazon Trio characters pertain to the Amazon and they are a trio of the Amazon. In the anime and manga, if they a trio of the Amazon, then they are representatives of the Amazon in the story. An Amazonian trap — a trap of the Amazon — is pertinent to the area that the three men represent. (Think of the Amazonian trap as pertaining to the Amazon in a similar way that the Vienna® Beef company pertains to the city Vienna. The trap wasn't made in the Amazon, and the company wasn't started in Vienna, but the trap was made by characters of the Amazon, while the company was started by people of Vienna.)
Amazon Saigo no Sutji can mean “Final Stage of the Amazon,” where Amazon is used here as it's used by the creator of the three characters: to refer to the Amazon area in South America. In that case, episode 148 is about the final stage with the Amazon represented by the Amazon Trio. (In other words, it is the Amazon Trio's last Amazonian stage.)
There is no need to think that Amazon women are involved. It is not necessary to postulate that Amazon has been given a new meaning.
The katakana characters Amazonesu are used to refer to all four of the girls (Cere Cere, Palla Palla, Jun Jun, and Ves Ves) collectively, even when the Karutetto (i.e. Quartetto) is not included, in the episode titles and on the LD covers. Amazoness could work, but there is no reason to use such a nonstandard and redundant term when we can use Amazones.
“Amazoness Quartet” on the Doll Boxes
In Japan, doll versions of the four girls were released13. The boxes show “AmazonessQuartet” (no spaces), but pieces of merchandise have been wrong before. (The Three Lights’ singles show “Three Rights,” which is completely wrong.) The boxes do not indicate whether the Amazoness is supposed to be Amazon and the suffix -ess.
We should remember that the Amazones Quartetto explanation involves the ideas in the anime and manga rather than simply the spellings. Finding Amazoness on the merchandise and such does not mean that it contains the suffix -ess. Amazoness could very well be an alteration of the Greek word Amazones. That is why the Amazones explanation allows the Amazoness spelling. In other words, that explanation is not refuted simply because the Amazoness spelling can be found on the Japanese sources. If the explanation for Amazones Quartetto simply claimed that Amazones is better than Amazoness because the Japanese use those katakana characters to refer to the Greek term, and it did not provide evidence from the anime and manga, then the spellings on those doll boxes would be a legitimate strike against the explanation.
(I cannot guarantee that other Japanese people would not want to use Amazonesu to refer to Amazon with the suffix -ess. The explanation for Amazones Quartetto is relevant specifically to the Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn manga and anime. So, it would not make sense to pull out something that is not relevant Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn that shows Amazoness in Roman letters and say, “Ian is wrong!”)
A Comment on the Term Athletess
Some fans have compared the term Amazoness (Amazon with -ess) with the term Athletess from the anime series Battle Athletess Daiundkai. Athletess might have come from athlete and –ess, but athlete is a gender-ambiguous term. Amazon, when it refers to a human, is not gender-ambiguous because it refers specifically to a female human. While Athletess is not a widely-recognized term, Amazoness is both not widely-recognized and redundant (because an Amazon human is a female by definition). It would make more sense to compare Amazoness and womaness (woman with the suffix -ess). The fact that people created and used the term Athletess does not mollify the redundancy of the term Amazoness.
Amazones Quartetto Literally Means Amazons Quartet
Some fans may object to Amazones Quartetto since it literally means Amazons Quartet. “Amazones Quartetto (i.e. Amazons Quartet),” they could might, “is just as ungrammatical as Amazoness Quartet.” The difference is that when Amazones is by itself, it is not awkward like Amazoness is. In other words, Amazoness (Amazon and -ess) is awkward regardless of its orthographical environment. Furthermore, why must the words in the phrase follow grammatical rules? The names of many of the maneuvers that are performed in the various continuities do not follow any particular grammatical rules. Even the names Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity and Sailor Heavy Metal Papillon do not follow any strict grammatical rules. The individual words in a proper name that contain terms from different languages do not need to go together grammatically. Whether the individual words grammatically go together or not does not need to be an issue. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is often referred to as the Mille Lacs Band, which literally means one thousand lakes band. The name Amazones Quartetto does not need to adhere to strict grammatical rules.
It should be understood that the explanation for Amazones Quartetto is not rejecting Amazoness just because the term is ungrammatical. It is also not rejecting Amazoness just because that term is not a word that can be found in a dictionary. (Eudial or Ptilol would not appear in most dictionaries.) The explanation is rejecting Amazoness mainly because the term is redundant.
Incidentally, the members of the Dead Moon Circus in the anime use the Latin term Lemures in the singular and in the plural even though it is strictly plural in its original language14.
And if Amazoness Is the Intended Spelling...
What if the Ms. Takeuchi said that she intended the spelling Amazoness? Even if that happened, that would not mean that the word comprises the suffix -ess. It would not make sense to say that such a situation would indicate that the Greek term is not meant. Amazoness can be an alteration of Amazon or an alteration of the Greek word Amazones. The change from Amazones to Amazoness is smaller than the change from Amazon to Amazoness. With that in mind, which interpretation is more parsimonious? We should consider some facts: